Saturday, April 12, 2014

EXTRA: Fighting Irish ‘field turf’ brings to mind memories of Sox Sod

'Touchdown Jesus' will be overlooking a man-made playing field. That's just wrong!

I comprehend the fact that people involved in athletics believe that artificial turf playing surfaces are easier to maintain than having a field of natural grass. So perhaps to someone with an accountant’s mentality, the decision to install Field Turf at Notre Dame Stadium makes sense.

Note the sickly Sox Sod compared to real grass
But considering how much the University of Notre Dame relies on tradition and history to make it appear that they still have an all-powerful, mighty and significant collegiate football program, it still leaves me bewildered that they’d make the change.

YOU JUST KNOW they’re going to get so much grief. Particularly when fans show up for football games beginning this autumn and see the new plastic grass.

Can you envision The Gipper or those “Four Horsemen” being sidelined because they came down with “turf toe?”

Thinking about the announcement made Saturday makes me wonder how the atmosphere of the old building will come across with 21st Century takes on artificial turf – which has come a long way since the Houston Astros showed how bloated their collective ego was when they installed turf and named it after themselves.

To the point where many people still think of “Astroturf” as an all-purpose name for the stuff.

IN FACT, THERE may well be only one place where the use of artificial turf was more ridiculous than it will be at Notre Dame.

That place, of course, was the Sout’ Side of Chicago, where the White Sox once had the most bizarre combination to comprise a professional athletic field.

At the old Comiskey Park (which for a 15-year period officially was called White Sox Park), there was also a six-year stint when the ball club put artificial turf over the infield. The outfield kept natural grass.

That infield turf officially was called “Sox Sod.” It looked ridiculous, and sounded pompous that the ball club thought it could get away with putting its brand on an artificial turf.

WILL WE GET “Irish Turf” at the stadium near South Bend, Ind.? Will it look as garish as what once existed at 35th and Shields?

And will we get a Notre Dame football player who takes the same attitude as one-time baseball slugger Dick Allen – “If a horse won’t eat it, I don’t want to play on it.”

Let's only hope so!

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